Escalante Impresses, Alvarez Not So Much

I have to admit that I was quit impressed with Antonio Escalante’s third round TKO victory over Mike Oliver Friday night.  I never really had much of an opinion on Escalante before.  Sure the El Paso fighter has been showcased on more than a few occasion on Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo series, but most fans will most identify Escalante from his 8th round TKO loss to Columbian Mauricio Pastrana last year.  Since the loss, Escalante has been on a four fight winning streak, though his list of opponents would force most to check Boxrec to verify their names.  World beaters they were not.

Which is what makes his domination of Oliver an eye opener.  Up until recently, Oliver was considered a talented prospect.  The Hartford, CT, native was much hyped, and his win over fellow East Coast bantamweight, Gary Stark Jr. had many people taking notice.  But Oliver would squander that hype by being upset by Reynaldo Lopez this past May.

Looking to get their fighter back into the public consciousness, it was little wonder why Oliver’s people took the fight.  In Escalante you had a perceived, pressure fighter who would be no match for Oliver’s vast edge in speed and boxing ablility.  In the opening minutes of the first round it appeared that Oliver’s people were dead on in their assumption.  Then Escalante took the fight to Oliver. The squat, compact Escalante began to apply some smothering pressure, weathing Oliver’s fast salvos, a shift in the action was evident.  Then Escalante landed a sneaky overhand right that put Oliver on the seat of his pants.  A lead left uppercut later and Oliver was back on the canvas.  All told, by the end of the first round Oliver had been dropped three times.

Seems that Oliver’s weakness is his Glass Joe -esque chin.  After surviving the second round, Oliver’s reprieve would be short lived, dropped by a left hook to the body Oliver would be unfit to continue in the fight.

Escalante looked good, and may be on his way as the future of the super bantamweight division, plus he makes for good teleivsion.  As for Oliver, it’s unclear where he goes from here.  Sure he can box, and his hand speed is uncanny, but with a chin so prone to being dented, and the tendency to be a “front runner” in fights, the ceiling seems low for Oliver.

– The televised main event was a bit of a snoozer, as fans were forced to see Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Larry Mosely do more posing and posturing than punching in their ten round junior middleweight scrap.  Alzarez is a solid looking prospect, and at 18 years-old has an impressive record of 22-0-1, 15 KO.  Mosley is an ultra talented SoCal fighter who has not enjoyed much success as a pro.  Seems both fighters were repsectful of the others talents as most of the fight saw little action but lots of feinting and staring.  It was painfully boring but Alvarez captured the decision on account of him simply trying to land more than just a jab.  I would like to see Alvarez fight again, just never again with Mosley.

– The televised swing bout saw 6′ 2″ junior welterweight Hector Sanchez knock out previously undefeated Albert Rodriguez.  Sanchez, who in many respects mirrors WBO welterweight champ Paul Williams, has some rocky moments in the first round as a game Rodriguez enjoyed landing some hard looping right hands to the beanpole that is Sanchez.  Success was fleeting for Rodriguez, who could not close the gap in teh second round.  Enjoying the spacing he needed, Sanchez was able to get maximum leverage on his long punches, knocking out Rodriguez with a crisp left hook.  Not completely sold on Sanchez as a prospect, but I would like to see more of him in action.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.